Aberdeen red kites

Red kites were persecuted to extinction in Scotland and England in the 19th century.

Red Kite in flight


Red kites were persecuted to extinction in Scotland and England in the 19th century. UK-wide reintroductions have been carried out and during the Aberdeen phase of the reintroductions, 101 red kites were released in the area from 2007–2009.
Following this successful reintroduction programme they are becoming a common sight once more in Aberdeen City and shire. The population has grown year on year with a minimum of 35 breeding pairs established in the north east by 2016. They now range from the edge of the Cairngorms National Park to Aberdeen City and have spread south into Angus. To date, Aberdeen red kite have raised more than 300 chicks in the wild.

2017 photo competition

We are marking the 10-year anniversary with a red kite photo competition to highlight these magnificent birds of prey and celebrate their success in the Aberdeenshire area.

You can be of any age or skill level to enter but photos must be taken in the north-east of Scotland and must feature a red kite in a natural setting. We cannot accept entries from professional photographers. The judges will be looking for photos which tell a powerful story about these much-loved birds and the role they play in our environment.

The winning entrant will win a day out with an RSPB Scotland Conservation Officer to observe local red kite hotspots, take photos and learn more about the species and its conservation. The winning photo will also be displayed at TechFest in August 2017 along with runner up photos and special commendations.

Please download the competition rules and terms & conditions from the downloads section below and read them carefully before submitting your entries.


  • To create a self-sustaining population of red kites on the outskirts of Aberdeen which the people of Aberdeen can enjoy and be proud of.

Key Dates

  • July 2007: The reintroduction project begins, with 30 young red kites released on the outskirts of Aberdeen at a secret location
  • July 2008: A further 35 red kites are released
  • June 2009: The first red kite chicks are born and reared in the wild near Aberdeen for the first time in nearly 150 years. The Aberdeen public followed their progress watching CCTV footage
  • August 2009: The last red kites are released and the location is revealed as VSA Easter Anguston Farm. This brings the total of red kites reintroduced to the Aberdeen area to 101
  • June 2010: Following 2009's breeding success, 15 red kites are reared in the area. We were lucky to have a nest we could film and footage was shown at VSA Easter Anguston and at Union Square in Aberdeen
  • 2011-2016: Regular monitoring sees a year on year increase in population size with at least 55 chicks fledging in 2016
  • 2017: The project celebrates its 10-year anniversary with events at some of the places where red kites are now common around Aberdeen. A minimum of 35 breeding pairs are established and red kites are a common sight across much of the region.


Planned Work

The continued monitoring of our fledgling breeding population of red kites is the priority for our current and future work. We are also trying to raise the profile of the species through an exciting education project which links in Bird Friendly Schools.


VSA Easter Anguston Farm on the edge of Aberdeen provided the release site for the reintroduction which was supported through funding and partnership support from The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Aberdeen Greenspace Trust Ltd through the Landfill Communities Fund, and Scottish Natural Heritage, with further donations from local business supporters.


PDF, 135 KB. June 2017

2017 Photo Competition Guidelines

Further reading

Tagged with: Country: Scotland Habitat: Farmland Habitat: Urban and suburban Habitat: Woodland Species: Red kite Project status: Ongoing Project classification: Ongoing Project types: Education Project types: Site protection